Jutting out into the Sea of Japan, Hinomisaki is famed for sunsets and the lingering presence of Japan’s Shinto gods. Check out Hinomisaki Lighthouse and Hinomisaki Shrine, too!
In Japan’s unique region of San’in, the city of Izumo is known for its connection to the spiritual realms. All eight million gods of Japan’s voluminous pantheon are said to gather on the city’s coast each fall, Izumo’s grand shrine is thought to bring luck to visitors’ love lives, and Hinomisaki (日御碕, sometimes called Cape Hino) is known for sunsets that have so long been revered, they are considered sacred.
The cape, jutting off the western edge of Shimane Prefecture and into the Sea of Japan, is an important part of local Shinto beliefs, and has been treasured by the people of western Shimane for well over 1,000 years. In fact, thanks to the sun that sets each night over Hinomisaki, Izumo has taken on the title of “Sacred Place of Sundown” (日が沈む聖地出雲), and the spot has become an official Japanese Heritage site.
A slightly newer addition to the silhouette of the cliffs, set against the sinking sun, is the bright white Hinomisaki Lighthouse. While it can’t compete with the millennia-long connection that locals have with the area in general, the lighthouse has been in this spot for over a century now, after being completed back in 1903. To this day, it’s Asia’s tallest stone lighthouse at 44m (143ft) tall, and visitors can still climb to the top and look out on the calm sea waters during daylight hours.
Hinomisaki Lighthouse is particularly popular among new couples, as watching this sacred sunset together is said to bring a little extra luck to the relationship, giving it some staying power! But whether visiting with a special someone, a good friend, or even just solo, watching the sun dye the clouds every shade of red and pink before slipping into the water, with the tall silhouette of the lighthouse becoming a shadow against the evening light, is always a magical experience.
Izumo Hinomisaki Lighthouse (出雲日御碕灯台)
1478 Taishacho Hinomisaki, Izumo, Shimane
Lighthouse Admission: 300 yen
Entrance Hours: 9:00 – 16:30 (March to September weekend and holiday hours ~17:00)
Just down the road from the lighthouse is another must-see Hinomisaki destination. When it comes to shrines in Izumo, most travelers head straight to Izumo Taisha (出雲大社, or the Grand Shrine of Izumo), and while the grand shrine is certainly majestic and important, it’s far from the only shrine worth seeing in the area! Hinomisaki Shrine is an important place for Shinto beliefs, and has also taken on the name of “Hishizuminomiya” Shrine, which can be loosely translated to the “Sundown Shrine” or more dramatically, “Shrine of the Sinking Sun.”
With such a sacred sunset visible from the nearby sea cliffs, perhaps it’s no surprise that Hinomisaki Shrine is said to guard over Japan’s setting sun and even the nighttime hours. Over to the east in Mie Prefecture, the famous Grand Shrine of Ise is thought to be Hinomisaki’s opposite, performing the other half of the job by carefully guarding Japan’s days, during the hours when the sun is shining bright. The two shrines perform an important duty together, but if we’re talking about where the gods like to hang out after hours, Hinomisaki is the place to be. When it comes to your next trip to Japan, head to Izumo for a glimpse of where Japan’s Shinto gods gather to have a good time!
Hinomisaki Shrine (日御碕神社)
455 Taishacho Hinomisaki, Izumo, Shimane
Name: Hinomisaki / Cape Hino (日御碕)
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